Adobe aims to blend digital, physical marketing via IoT, wearables

Adobe is broadening its Marketing Cloud to physical environments via multiple screens and channels.

Adobe on Tuesday will outline plans to extend its digital marketing footprint to physical spaces as well as the Internet of things and wearables via its Marketing Cloud. The push comes as Adobe adds beacon support and plans to meld digital and physical marketing in one dashboard.

While Salesforce, Oracle, IBM, Marketo and others all target chief marketing officers, Adobe has emerged as a quiet powerhouse. Adobe had $1.2 billion in Marketing Cloud revenue in fiscal 2014, has systems integrator support and a broad set of customers.

The core components of Adobe's moves, which will be unveiled at Adobe's Summit digital marketing conference, break down like this:

  • Adobe will extend its Marketing Cloud to the Internet of things and wearables via tools such as Adobe Target, Analytics and Mobile Core Services.
  • Roll out more tools to build mobile apps and experiences to engage customers.
  • Combine marketing and advertising technologies to better enable programmatic ad buying. Adobe will integrate CRM data from Salesforce, Oracle, SAP and others, mine customer profiles and evaluate and purchase anonymous third- and first-party data via a marketplace that'll be used to segment audiences.
  • Partnerships with IBM's services unit with WebSphere integration and the addition of Adobe's Primetime video advertising tools and Audience Management to the Marketing Cloud. Adobe has also partnered with Accenture.

Of those items, Adobe's move to bring content and marketing intelligence to machines, locations such as stores, hotels and vending tools is the most notable. Adobe's Experience Manager will allow customers to connect Creative Cloud content and support multiple screens.

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A retail proof of concept from Adobe. Adobe

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Marketing and content to your dashboard. Adobe

On the Adobe Analytics side, the company has added iBeacon visualization tools to retool merchandise layouts on the fly.

Adobe is also aiming to bring marketing to Internet of things devices and wearables. Adobe Target will allow for content testing, adapt for preferences and support everything from gas station screen pumps to dashboards to the Apple Watch.

Here's the catch for enterprises. Those pitches if tailored incorrectly could be annoying. Matt Asay, vice president of mobile at Adobe, acknowledged the concerns.

"We're aiming to deliver the right content at the right time. There are different ways to engage with customers on different channels," said Asay. "A/B testing will be critical because there's only one shot to annoy me."

Asay said he's been heartened that marketers haven't gone bonkers with the Internet of things or beacons just yet. "The reality is that retailers are going to have to be careful about how they do it."

Retailers are just one industry that'll experiment. Under Armour is an Adobe customer and is eyeing how to meld store experiences, content and marketing into one experience.

The glue with these efforts will revolve around mobile experiences. Adobe added a bevy of app workflow tools and analytics to track app performance before and after deployment. What Adobe hopes to lean into is bridging its content tools with its analytics to test messaging on mobile.

Adobe launched a series of partnership with mobile technology providers such as Ionic, a dev tool; Fiksu, which measures campaign performance; Crittercism, App Figures and Kochava, a trio that measures performance, analyzes app stores and tracks attribution, respectively; and Vibes, which offers mobile payment tools.

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